December 02, 2005

A Farce

Q Mr. Secretary, I want to get your reaction to the 79-9 vote that just took place in the Senate on the authorization committee.

SEC. RUMSFELD: I wasn't aware of it.

Q Well, your legislative guy should have told you. (Laughter.) It was basically that the Senate --

SEC. RUMSFELD: No, they're busy. They can't follow every thing every second, now. Don't pick on them. I -- say I should have known. (Laughter.)

Q The bottom line, though, it's a sense of the Senate on the war requiring the Pentagon and the administration to file more complete, regular progress reports. And it pressed the Pentagon --

SEC. RUMSFELD: Is this the one that was pending by Warner and somebody --

Q Yeah, and Frist.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Frist.

Q And here's my question. Looking back as a former member of Congress, does this signal to you a growing impatience in the U.S. Senate similar to the early '70s debates on Vietnam?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I wouldn't go down that road myself. It's understandable that the American people and the Congress are interested in knowing as much as possible about a war. A war is an important thing. It's a serious thing. It's a dangerous thing. People die, and we know that, and it's heartbreaking.

I was reading a book last night, Winston Churchill, and he said the problem is not winning the war but persuading people to let them -- let him win the war, he said. In a free system like we have -- these situations don't evolve in a dictatorship. It's only in free systems that we have these kind of open, public debates and discussions.

Just a piece of factual information. I'm told that the Department of Defense and the Department of State send literally dozens of Iraqi-related reports to Congress each year already. Seven are required reports. We have seven voluntary briefings. We have 28 IG reports, 52 GAO reports, and regular classified updates on the Iraqi security forces, which I believe go up there every month. Many of those things address what, as I recall, an earlier draft of that amendment may have covered. And that's fine. I mean, that's all part of the interaction between the executive and legislative branch. And they have every right to ask for reports, and we send, I don't know, it's something over 900 reports total every year from the Department of Defense to the Congress. I hope someone reads them.

But no, what it reflects to me is that this is a serious business and these are serious people and they're interested in having as much information as possible.

I was struck by what someone told me about another amendment, where Senator Lieberman spoke and pointed out that he was concerned -- I think he said, quote, that it seems to be -- you don't want to -- he said one of these amendments would send "a message that I fear will discourage our troops because it seems to be heading to the door. It will encourage the terrorists and it will confuse the Iraqi people and affect their judgments as they go forward." And I mention that because another one that's pending involves deadlines, as I recall, or timetables of some sort.

Q That was shot down.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Was it?

Q Yes.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Good.

How cretinous a Pentagon press corps we have to let this failed Secretary dick them around so. What a sad, sad joke. I mean, how credulous, gullible and plain dumb does one have to be to be played so? This is too the cheap jocularity and fake insouciance and ignorance of the middle-brow, frat-like Princeton of Rummy's wrestling pass-through. Sadly, Bush must just love it. Farce.

Oh, on the Rummy front, don't miss this take-down of this increasingly embarrassing figure here. Yep, what he said.

Posted by Gregory at December 2, 2005 04:26 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Speaking about the Rummy take-down, I read quite an interesting take on it in an Army intel reservist's blog. (I know, it's an LJ, sue me.)
Specifically, Pace's language in that press conference constituted 'unactionable insubordination' to anyone familiar with military etiquette. And stressing the rank disparity by inserting an unnecessary 'sir' in the line "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it" will be understood by any serviceman hearing it as "Mr Rumsfeld, my superior, is full of s*&t on this."

Posted by: Antiquated Tory at December 2, 2005 02:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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